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Thom Ross
Artist: Thom Ross, Title: The Chase - click for larger image
The Chase
60 x 48 Inches  Acrylic on Canvas   Sold
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On August 13, 1896, Butch Cassidy, Elzy Lay, and Bud Meeks robbed the bank in Montpelier, Idaho. As Montpelier was a quiet Mormon town, the role of the local law enforcement consisted of collecting taxes and other mundane objectives. Crime was unheard of in the town. Thus, when the trio of outlaws flew the town, the only lawman around was Deputy Fred Cruikshank and he was working his job not as a lawman, but as a store clerk. He heard the commotion on the street and darted out of his store. As the outlaws rode past him he looked around for some means of transportation; all he could find was an old-style bicycle. He jumped up on it and pedaled after the outlaws. Now Fred was no fool and he knew he could not actually catch the bandits while riding a bike; he merely wanted to see what direction they were headed in. Cassidy and his men got away with the loot and Montpelier settled back to it's quiet ways. Today there is a sign in the town that tells of the robbery. However, one of the bank tellers memorized the facial features of the outlaw holding the horses in the street. A year later Bud Meeks was arrested for trying to rob a store in Baggs, Wyoming. The bank teller identified Meeks as one of the outlaws who robbed the Montpelier bank. Meeks was convicted and sent to prison. He tried to escape but was caught. The parole board decided to release him early for good behavior; but they wanted to wait till Christmas to notify him of the good news. Unaware of this, Meeks tried to escape again and was shot in the leg by a guard. He was placed in the hospital. While in the hospital he tried to escape yet again. Jumping out of the second story window, he landed on his shattered leg and this time they had to amputate the limb. He was then placed in a mental ward. Still not happy about his confinement, Meeks made one last escape attempt. He hobbled out into the snow and made it to his brother's home. The brother called the authorities but they just said "never mind, you keep him; no sense in arresting a one-legged maniac." Meeks' sad and tragic fate would seem to dispel the romantic vision of the Old West outlaw.
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